Bristol

Crossing Divides: Bristol's St Mark's Road named best UK street

People eating food after sundown
Image caption Thousands attend the grand Iftar meal held for the community on St Mark's Road in Bristol

A street in Bristol has been named the best in the UK and Ireland.

St Mark's Road was one of three streets shortlisted by the Academy of Urbanism for the value it placed on diversity and "bringing people together".

It was up against Belgrave Road in Leicester and Rye Lane in London.

The judges described the street as "diverse, popular and full of delight" and praised it for its annual grand Iftar meal, which attracts thousands of people.

The Iftar meal is eaten by Muslim families after sunset, and breaks the daytime fasting during Ramadan.

The event on the street in Easton was started in 2017, as a direct response to the terror attack in Manchester.

Organisers wanted to share their faith and food with the wider community and it has doubled in size each year since then.

Image caption The event has inspired similar ones in Chicago, Sydney and New York, according to organisers

The judging criteria for the best street award included how much "local character" the street offered, how enticing and safe it was, and whether it promoted "social cohesion" and was "well managed, inclusive and fair".

The Academy of Urbanism said St Mark's Road demonstrated the "power of good urbanism to bring people together" and had "many lessons across the world for multicultural urban street life".

Lead assessor Alistair Barr said it was the "perfect example of community led urbanism".

"This street is diverse, popular and full of delight," he said.

Image caption The Iftar meal is eaten by Muslim families after sunset, and breaks the daytime fasting during Ramadan

Abdul Ismail, a local business owner, described it as a "very friendly community".

"We had over 200 volunteers for the grand Iftar and that's what makes a community, that's what makes a street," he said.

Local resident Stuart Phelps, said the street was "wonderful" and had a sense of "real community".

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Bristol City councillor Afzal Shah, who represents the Easton ward, said he was "absolutely delighted".

"It just goes to show that all the hard work put in by the local residents, businesses, charities and faith organisations - everybody - has all paid off," he said.

Past winners include South William Street in Dublin, Humber Street Fruit Market in Hull and Wood Street in Walthamstow, London.

Image caption The street in Easton has a diverse population and the event has become known for bringing people of all backgrounds together

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